Friday, May 30, 2014

Sorolla and America at the San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Art has launched its Welcome Gallery at the front of the museum so that visitors can have a sneak peek at selected exhibitions without having to pay to enter. It contains a really fun educational component for children so that they can test to see what sort of museum staff they might be and a digital jigsaw puzzle which has a flip side with info about each image. Right now the room also contains a time line for the current Sorolla exhibition. 

This show was organized by three museums, SDMA, Meadows Museums in Dallas Texas where it began and the Mapfre Foundation in Spain with the help of the great grand daughter of Sorolla Blanca (who co-wrote the catalog) and the Hispanic Society of America. Forty of the 150 works on display  have not been seen in public before but that might not be too surprising as this prolific artist created more than 8000 works of art.  Only works created, exhibited or sold in America are included and this is the largest show of his work since 1911.

I was privileged to see the works in advance of the show opening.  The director of SDMA and the the curator of the show were happy to tell us many details about the work. But this is work that needs to be felt and not explained. I have added my selection but I encourage you to go and make your own selection and to see this artist not in the context of Spain but as a world traveler who was immensely popular in his own time. Only time will tell if he what place he takes in history, but SDMA will certainly aid in giving him a higher profile in the here and now.

The show will be on view until August 26, 2014.  Check the website for a listing of workshops and lectures.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. María at La Granja, 1907. Oil on canvas. The San Diego Museum of Art, gift of Mr. Archer M. Huntington in memory of his mother, Arabella D. Huntington, 1925.001.
This is the first work donated to SDMA in 1925 by Archer Huntington, one of the largest patrons of the artist.
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Clotilde Seated on the Sofa, 1910. Oil on canvas. Museo Sorolla, Madrid, 900. The artist's wife charmingly depicted here and below a few years earlier. The first is a portait in the style of the time and that below has an added air of mystery and even sexual allure.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Running Along the Beach, 1908. Oil on canvas. Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Colección Masaveu, which is followed below by a sketch for the work...the series of sketches just found to belong with the work in oil.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Playing on the Beach, 1908. Charcoal and chalk on paper. Private Collection. Photo by Joaquín Cortés.

Christopher Columbus Leaving Palos, Spain, commission by Thomas Fortune Ryan and other very large collector of Sorolla's work in the USA, which is followed below with a few in the series of quite large works that appear to be studies, but could be considered to be abstract versions of the subject.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Portrait of Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1911. Oil on canvas. The Hispanic Society of America, A3182. This portrait attracts you even if you don't know who the fashionable designer is. He looks so elegant in his white suit surrounded by the lushness of the flowers, the little dog and with a palate in his hand. This is the equivalent of a standing portrait by Sargent of the most elegant ladies of the day.

I choose this seemly simple landscape as the glorious red flowers just leap off the page. Another instance of what the eye has to see in person to fully appreciate the work

The final portrait of a young lady adjusting her bathing costume with its hints of skin under the wet silk is my nod to a future exhibition at SDMA which will be a European dip into desire. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DNA of Creativity , Sea Changes: Act at Museum of Monterey

 By Patricia Frischer

DNA of Creativity Sea Changes: Act at Museum of Monterey at Stanton Center is now over but it ended with a wonderful Sea Changes: Act Panel on the last day, Sunday May 25th, 2-5 pm. 5 Custom House Plaza, Monterey, CA 93940 More info: 831.372.2608.

Joining me on the panel were Mark Baer, director Museum of Monterey, Jennifer Colby, our guest curator for Sea Changes: Act at MOM, Dawn Hayes of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, Paulette Lynch for the Arts Council of Monterey County, Ellen Martin, director of First Night Monterey and the every lovely Kira Carrillo Corser  who spoke and recorded the panel. We hope to send you a link to that video in the future. 

The afternoon was started with a dedication and chant with Sonne Reyna, Lipan Apache. It was an emotional dedicate to Mother Ocean and set just the right tone for the day. 

The museum is trying to move more and more toward innovation and creativity and Mr. Baer welcomed us warmly. Jennifer Colby, Dawn Hayes and Ellen reported on numerous projects past and ongoing which show how the arts not only enliven the county of Monterey but help to solve some of it pressing problems of cultural awareness, land use, and issues maritime. The emphasis was on spreading the word about our oceans, their beauty and the threats to the fish and to us when the ocean is abused. Of course, this is the stance of the the DNA of Creativity project, Sea Changes: Act with it's motivating title to go out there and make a difference. 

I was especially pleased with the reception I received for ideas of combining art and science in all sorts of way. 

Here are some images from this exhibition at MOM and I am glad to say that you can see a larger assortment until August 4th at the Oceanside Museum of Art  where you can also see the results of the other three teams for DNA of Creativity. 

Mosaic painting by Tim Leuker
Jelly by Marjorie Pezzoli and Debb Solan, fish by Patricia Frischer, silk painting by Kira Carrillo Corser and Marjorie Pezzoli

Video surround by Kira Carrillo Corser

Fish by Kira Corser Carrillo and scarves by Marjorie Pezzoli

Jellies by  Marjorie Pezzoli and Debb Solan

Painting by Marcia Perry

Multimedia images by Kira Carrillo Corser

Painting by Victor Angelo

Mosaic painting by Debb Solan

Sea Harbor paintings by Lauren Carerra

Glass Sculptures by Michelle Kurtis Cole

Gallery view

Panel flyer

Saturday, May 24, 2014

John Cederquist: Illusions in Wood at Cannon Gallery, Carlsbad

By Patricia Frischer

March 30 – May 25

San Juan Capistrano artist John Cederquist is considered one of the top 100 Craftsmen in America with works in the American Craft Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Museum. A sculptor known for playful trompe-l'œil wood assemblages and furniture that blur the distinctions between reality and illusion. Cederquist’s unique constructions combine two-dimensional inlaid images of everything from Japanese prints to popular cartoons with three dimensional furniture forms. 

I was particularly taken with his ironic series of art works making themselves. It was a pleasure to see all these works.


Abstracted Jewel-Toned Landscapes Become Metaphors for California's Immigration Issues: Works by Eva Struble

Lemon Drop     acrylic,paper,screen print on wood panel  2013
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego
Produce: Paintings by Eva Struble
Article written by Cathy Breslaw

Eva Struble’s paintings are chock full of jewel-toned colors, shapes and patterns, all sitting within and upon the familiar structure of the landscape.  The title of the exhibition “Produce” hints at Struble’s focus - the abundance of food yielded from the farming areas of southern California highlighting the folks who work to sustain its’ agricultural industry.  Each painting presents a stylized version of both urban and natural environments held together with a broad range of vibrant acrylic paint, paper collage, silkscreen printing, and a host of painting techniques.  These abstracted landscapes often contain traditional artisan textile patterns within the shapes of hills, rocks and other organic material. There is an accompanying short video of an interview with Struble which further explains the socio-political and environmental issues she is grappling with alongside the creation of her paintings.  In preparation for this series of works, Struble delved into historical photo archives, visited farms in San Diego County and interviewed migrant workers who came from Oaxaca, Mexico to obtain temporary labor.  She wishes to address the intersection between labor, immigration and the burgeoning agricultural industry in California. Struble’s acrylic, paper and screen prints on wood panels present some disquieting, clashing and discordant imagery and color that belie our notions of the bucolic California landscape.  Perhaps  that is Struble’s point – to re-imagine and bring awareness tothe contradictions of the beauty that surrounds us.

"Secrets and Lies", Exhibition Explores Disguise, Ruse and Revelation at Museum of Contemporary Art, Downtown, San Diego

Ellen De Meutter   Secrets and Lies     oil on canvas

Museum of  Contemporary Art, San Diego
“Secrets and Lies” : exhibition drawn from the museum’s collection
Review by Cathy Breslaw

Secrets and Lies  is an exhibition drawn from the museum’s collection, including several new acquisitions. Centered around concepts of disguise, ruse and revelations, the show includes painting, photography, sculpture and installation. The show’s title is taken from Belgian painter Ellen De Meutter’s painting of the same name.  Her painting of two gossiping figures, hints at the questions of what is public or private, and what is fact or fiction.  Yasumasa Morimura’s “An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo”(2001), is one of a series that took the artist ten years to create.  A self portrait that is digitally manipulated, the photo appears like a painting. Morimura reconstructs Kahlo’s image with costumes and props, and questions gender, cultural and racial conventions. Al Wei Wei’s “Marble Chair”(2010), is a sculptural installation carved from a single piece of striated white marble. It is sculpted into the design of two traditional yoke-backed Ming and Qing Dynasty chairs. Wei Wei examines China’s loss of culture as it attempts to modernize itself.  Cindy Sherman’s photograph, “Untitled”(2000), transforms her own image into a southern California typecast young woman who is tanned, blond, in sporty clothing,  wearing a jeweled tiara referencing the “impossible ideal” found in airbrushed figures in magazines. Kim Dingle’s painting “Untitled(Prisspaper with Blue Hair”(1998), is an oil on wallpaper on wood, depicting toddlers running amok in the nursery, examining stereotypes of childhood and innocence. Tina Barney’s “Jill and Polly in the Bathroom”(1987), an Ektacolor Plus print, recalls Dutch genre painting while it is depicting the domestic habits of upper middle class women, questioning whether they are posing or acting. Larry Sultan’s Chronogenic print “Tasha’s Third Film”(2002), is part of a series Sultan did related to the culture surrounding the porn industry in the San Fernando Valley revealing a ‘porn’ star in an ordinary pose sitting around in curlers, hanging out in the living room waiting to perform.  The ‘white cube’ in the center of the gallery features works by Allan Sekula, photographer, filmmaker and critic whose work focused on social and political realities of labor, protest movements, and global trade. Sekula’s “Untitled Slide Sequence”(1972) reveal 25  photographs of workers leaving the General Dynamics Convair Division Aerospace Factory in San Diego at the end of a day. His photographs incorporate  a sense of the culture and historical moment of the military-industrial complex.   These and many other artists’ works comprise this thought provoking and complex exhibition.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Minimalist Steel Sculptures and Ink Drawings Spanning Four Decades - Works by San Diego artist Kenneth Capps

Crosswalk Two     free-standing steel sculpture     2012

Kenneth Capps
Oceanside Museum of Art
 Oceanside, CA
Review by Cathy Breslaw

Standing among the free-standing sculptures, ink on paper and steel drawings, and wall sculpture works by Kenneth Capps, we are reminded of artists Brancusi, Donald Judd and Robert Morris whose works fed the engine of minimalism during the mid to later twentieth century. Capps continues that line in his homage to this movement in his highly focused art practice of the past four decades.  Known for his wood and steel public art, in this exhibition Capps highlights steel and chrome, and ink on paper as his primary materials while the sphere, triangle, and square become his primary shapes.  Therein he explores the opposites of forms: rectilinear/curvilinear, convex/concave, positive/negative, and open/closed spaces. “Line” is the common denominator in all the works shown, whether they are painted, drawn or cut into steel or chrome. His lines travel in many directions, often bursts of short lines of varying thicknesses cut into steel that move in and out of three dimensional space within surfaces. While the works are limited in their color palette to mostly black, and dark steel, there is an array of surface variations of polished and shiny chrome, dull, and subtle modeled areas.  There is also an investigation of space in both the works on paper and sculpture.  Capps’s works on paper appear to be more of a way of exploring line and symbols in preparation for creating sculpture than stand alone pieces.  There are three drawings on paper that stand apart from the others which are “Cast”, “Study for D Side” and “Study for the Distortion of the Square”, all created in 1975.  These ink drawings reveal the ‘hand of the artist’ as they are roughly drawn, possess variations in color tones and exhibit mark-making rather than the straightforward filled in lines of his other drawings.  Simplicity and economy of design best describe Kenneth Capp’s work in this exhibition.
Oceanside Museum of Art     installation    June  2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

SDVAN's New Contemporaries VII at Meyer Fine Arts

New Contemporaries VII at Meyer Fine Arts (2400 Kettner Blvd, Suite 104, SD 92101 showing until June 28.. Emerging Artists nominated for SD Art Prize 2014 presented by the San Diego Visual Arts Network
Shane Anderson, Leonardo Francisco, Dave Ghilarducci, Garrett P. Goodwin,  Emily Grenader, Bhavna Mehta, Margaret Noble, Kim Reasor , Gail Schneider,  Lauren Siry, Cheryl Tall, Vicki Walsh, Joe Yorty.  

Artist “In Residence” Reception: Saturday, June 14 from 2 to 6 pm with Kim Reasor, Dave Ghilarducci,Bhavna Mehta , Vicki Walsh. More info: 619.358.9512 

Even with fires raging in North County (we greatly missed absent friends) a large crowd was present for the opening of the New Contemporaries exhibition at Meyer Fine art on Thursday May 15. During the course of the evening Patricia Frischer, coordinator of the San Diego Visual Arts Network and founder of the SD Art Prize announced that Marianela de la Hoz had chosen Bhavna Mehta and Philipp Scholz Ritterman had selected Joseph Huppert as the emerging artists for the 2014 SD Art Prize. 

Here are a few photos from the evening. i hope they are just good enough to get you to go and see the real thing!

Cheryl Tall's sculpture, painting and books

Dave Ghilarducci

Alice and Doug Diamond

Emily Grenader

Gail Scheider

Garrit Goodwin, sculpture and bowl

Ginger Porcella and Margaret Noble

Joe Yorty

Kathi and Perry Meyer with Tom Sergott

Kim Reason

Lauren Siry, watercolors and sculpture

Margaret Noble

Shane Anderson;s photos

Vicki Walsh and self portraits

Shane Anderson and the youngest art patron